Steve Smith ’88

Time Out in the Big Apple

By Donna Parker

Steve Smith, who received his bachelor’s in communication in 1988, still marvels at his good fortune to be married to the love of his life and hold the job of his dreams.  Life is good for this associate music editor at Time Out New York and freelance writer for The New York Times.

“It’s been a rapid growing experience,” states Steve.  “The magazine business is in such a state of flux with the movement from paper to online media.  We have to be flexible and willing to take on extra work.”

For Steve, that means 50+ hours a week for Time Out and extra hours in his post as a music writer for the Times.  Interacting at the highest levels in the New York City arts world requires Steve to be as disciplined as he was while a student – meaning, he still has to do his homework.

“Most classical music people are down to earth and normal, but they’ve worked so deeply and intensely in their field of expertise and amassed so much knowledge that I believe I need to be as knowledgeable before I conduct the interview.”

Although he primarily writes about classical music and the opera, an encounter with a familiar country music icon left him nearly tongue-tied with admiration.

“Emmylou Harris!  She is stunningly beautiful, poised, and dignified.  While sitting across the café table from her, I was thinking, ‘I get paid for this!’  She was completely charming and wonderful…and to top it off – she’s a hardcore baseball fanatic, so we discussed how the Mets were doing!”

Steve, who married his longtime sweetheart, Lara Pellegrinelli – a Harvard Ph.D. in music – spends any free moments with her walking around Central Park and feeding the squirrels.

“We went to Staten Island recently and just napped on the beach.  Usually, I’m so tired from working that there’s little time to relax.  I’d like to have time to work on my cooking skills and learn a foreign language, but considering I arrived in New York 15 years ago in pursuit of a role in the musical community – I’ve achieved that.”

Steve was the music director at KRTU his junior and senior years as well as an arts editor at the Trinitonian.  He also found time to join the wind symphony, the orchestra and the jazz band on campus, and played in a freelance small jazz group called Loading Zone.

“Trinity allows you to be so free and flexible in academic pursuits.  That preconditions you to be inventive and versatile in approaching a career path.  No one from my circle of friends is doing precisely what they anticipated, but they all agree that this is where I’d be in their eyes.”

Steve also enjoyed literature classes under John Brantley and Frank Kersnowski, department of English, finding them deeply authentic about their approach to fiction and literature.

“It was a treat to sit in their class and talk with them.”

“Ed Roy, department of geosciences, had a vibrancy and joy that had us eager to discover his world.  But the professor whom I owe the most is Sammye Johnson, department of communication, who steered me in the right direction by knowing how to refine what I’m doing.  I think of her as the guiding light for the better part of my college career.”

Steve recently completed a work assignment in Korea, covering the New York Philharmonic’s trip to Pyongyang, North Korea.   Oddly enough, on the same press junket was fellow Trinitonian Evan Ramstad ’87 who writes for The Wall Street Journal.

“We didn’t realize we were on the same trip until we got back into South Korea and had a grand laugh over reconnecting under such unlikely circumstances at Seoul’s Kimpo Airport!”

Steve plans to attend his upcoming 20th reunion on campus, but in the meantime welcomes e-mail at: